I feel like I still have so many posts I need to catch up on (hello, Disneyland! Kindergarten graduation! And I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head right now.) But after today’s swim meet, I felt compelled to go back and look at pictures and the video of Logan’s first swim meet, which was two weeks ago.
Let me just start at the beginning of this story. This is our third year to participate in summer swim team, but the first year for Logan. I didn’t really ask him if he wanted to do it; I just signed him up. It’s such a great activity, such great exercise, we are going to be there for Connor anyway, and while Logan already knew how to swim, I knew it would be a great way for him to learn the strokes and become a stronger swimmer. Swim team starts in April, which in the past has always been plenty warm enough for outdoor swimming. But this year was weird. It was in the low 60s the first week of practice–way too cold for my southern boys to want to swim. But we went for it anyway. That first week of practice was filled with crying. (“it’s too cold! I don’t want to do swim team! It’s too hard!”) By the end of week one, we were all frustrated. One day, Logan had been placed in a lane with some of the strongest kids on the team and instructed to do drills that he had no idea how to do. That was the day he climbed out of the pool, ran into the bathroom crying, and proclaimed that he was never getting in this pool again. Logan is typically go with the flow, and we were seeing a stubborn streak I didn’t know existed in him!
I was feeling a good dose of mommy guilt that weekend. Should I have signed him up in the first place without making sure he wanted to do it? Should we let him quit? What if he’s traumatized by swimming for life by this? I had no idea what to do, but we eventually came to an agreement that he would try for at least one more week (and really try–not just cry on the side of the pool for an hour) and then see we’d how things are going. And if he never wants to do a swim meet this season, that is fine. He can just practice. No pressure. We talked to the coach and got him assigned to a lane that had some high school swimmers in the water as helpers.
Monday arrived, and despite all our pep talks and the agreement to try his best, it was the same old crying and complaining song and dance. So I did what any mother would do.
I picked him up and dropped him into the pool.
Maybe it was a little harsh. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do. But you know what? He swam across the pool completely unassisted and passed the swim test, no problem.
I thought my heart might burst with pride.
After that, he decided that maybe swim team wasn’t so bad. We’ve practiced just about daily without any major complaining, and he’s grown into a strong little swimmer. I don’t know if swimming will be his “thing”, but I’m so glad that I didn’t let him quit after that first week. Sometimes we have to do things that are hard and that we might not like just because mom and dad say we have to. I’m hoping there’s a little life lesson for him in there somewhere.
True to my word, I did not sign him for the first meet. But to my surprise, when I suggested he swim in the second meet so he can get a ribbon and work towards the end of season trophy, he agreed to do the 25 free style.
I was a nervous wreck. What if he freaked out? What if he changes his mind? Would I push him to do it, or just let him walk out? These were my thoughts as he stood in line, awaiting his turn.
He bravely lined up in lane 6 (so happy he got lane 6 because he is obsessed with all things related to his current age.)
And with a coach by his side, he readied himself for his race. On your mark…get set…
And just like that, he was off with his kicks flying, big arms swinging and his signature pause in his stroke as he takes a breath.
He finished strong, coming in second place! I was so proud of him. So proud.
He climbed out of the pool, saw my camera, and made the classic Logan face at me, which made me laugh and forced me to smother him with hugs and kisses. I love this kid and this “don’t give me attention” face he flashes all the time.
If the pictures aren’t enough, here is a movie of the event.
So, after such a great performance at his first meet, and absolutely no issues at all at practice for weeks, it stands to reason that I could sign him up for another meet, and even add on an event, right? Wrong!
We arrive at our meet this morning which is at a really nice, really large, really cold high school pool. Logan sticks one foot in during warm-ups, breaks down in tears, and proclaims that he does NOT want to swim today. It is way too cold and way to deep (14 feet is pretty intimidating to a 6 year old…)We were right back to the scene from the first week of swim. I could not convince him to get in the water for warm-ups, but I figured when race time came, maybe he would just jump in and go for it. His first event of the day was a freestyle relay. He cried and fought me all the way to the start line. He cried and fought me while his teammates swam. He cried and fought when the coach came over for a pep talk. He cried and fought and would not jump into the pool. So I did what any good mother do, and what had worked before.
I picked him up and put him in the pool.
Only this time, he didn’t swim across. He climbed right back out.
So I did it again.
And he climbed back out.
At that point, I gave up trying to get him in the water. I felt so bad because his whole team was disqualified because he refused to swim.
I was admittedly pretty unhappy with him and his stubbornness. The pool is cold to everyone, but all the other kids are just doing it anyway. So frustrating!
About 15 minutes later, it was time for his 25 freestyle. I tried a different tactic to get him in the water. “Look, buddy. I’m not going to throw you in. If you don’t do it, that’s your choice. But if you do jump in, you get to pick treats from the concession stand. And we’ll all be so proud of you! And I know it’s cold, but you’ll be done in 30 seconds and then you are all done for the day. You can do it!”
Didn’t work. No swim. No treats. No happy dance or life lesson on overcoming fears.
It turns out that the whole issue was really how cold the pool was. He just freaked out and could not get past it. And just like the old saying goes, you can lead a kid to the pool but you can’t make him swim. What, that’s not an old saying? Well, it should be. Next week, he says he’ll do his races since it’s at a different (outdoor) pool.
Ah…parenting. It’s just a barrel of fun sometimes!